Aloe Vera Plant
The aloe vera plant has soothing, healing properties and has been used for many years for burns and minor wounds. To use it, just snap off a leaf from the plant and squeeze out the clear (maybe tinted with a hint of green), gel-like substance and rub it on the skin.
This plant is also really easy to grow. It doesn't need much water or sunlight (and from experience from a person who is NOT good with plants, it's a plant that's very hard to kill - trust me, it survived ME). When applied, it does have an odor, but it's not very strong. Sometimes during a flare up, the aloe vera will actually make my skin more itchy after rubbed in. I think this is because of the way that it dries. I'm not sure. But I can use it in between flare ups to help with dry, flaky skin. The coolness of the gel from the plant is really soothing and helps calm the itch a little bit.
OatmealUncooked oatmeal has been found helpful for its anti-itch properties. You can add some oatmeal to a bath (as is, or you can also grind it up finely with a blender or food processor), and it will help with the itch and soothe the skin. Hot water is irritating, so keeping bath water lukewarm is best. And be careful when getting out of the tub, because the oatmeal can make it slippery.
Using oatmeal does not work all the time, but when you're so super itchy and it seems nothing will help, give it a try. There are lots of lotions and creams for eczema now that contain colloidal oatmeal (this is the name for the finely ground oatmeal).
A couple of other natural remedies that we've tried:
Chamomile Baths and/or Compresses
Boil dried chamomile flowers and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Strain it and add to lukewarm bath, then soak in the bath for 10 minutes. Or, if you don't want to add it to a bath, use the strained homemade chamomile tea and soak a clean cloth in it. Wring out the cloth and apply to affected area and leave on for 10 minutes.
Chamomile is said to help soothe pain, reduce inflammation and calm the skin. Honestly, this didn't work for my son at all. I think it's because he might be allergic to the flower! But we did try this, and it might very well work for others, so we thought we'd give it a mention.
Changing Your Diet
Back when my son was an infant, we found that he had multiple allergies. He was allergic to cow's milk, soy, and tons of other things. That meant, at first, that I had to change my diet (I was nursing). Even after changing my diet, though, there was very little improvement. We ended up having to ultimately give him Enfamil Nutramigen baby formula, and he was on a pretty strict diet for quite awhile until he grew out of some of his allergies.
Now that I've been diagnosed with eczema too (and it doesn't seem to be going anywhere any time soon) and Baby Girl has it, our family will be trying to adjust our diet and get back to more fresh fruits and vegetables. It's healthier that way anyway. It's how it should be. I'm even starting to collect more gluten free recipes as well, because it could help. We don't know until we try (again). We attempted to go gluten free before, but it didn't help much with my son (nothing really did) and were happy to give it up. It can be expensive! We'll give it another shot, because we've got nothing to lose. Why not? If you have any gluten free recipes to share with me, please do!
We've tried SO many other things, but these are what we chose to share for now. If you missed the post on Natural Stuff We Love for Eczema, be sure to check it out here.
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